WHATEVER the level or opposition, Hartlepool United can’t stop winning at present.
Last night, the reserves, up against Rotherham United, continued the club’s upbeat mood by registering another win, this time triumphing 9-0.
The trouncing, bordering on humiliation, was a product of the thriving morale around Pools, the style desired by manager Colin Cooper and some tactical tweaking by senior pro Sam Collins.
Collins oversaw the second string once again and his decision to set Pools up in a 4-1-3-2 formation at Bedford Terrace conjured up the perfect evening for the veteran.
Brad Walker carried out his mandate set by Collins to “get the ball off the back four and start out attacks” which generated fluidity for Pools with pace and vibrancy throughout the team.
Strike partners Nialle Rodney and Greg Rutherford scored five between them, the latter hitting a hat-trick, Antony Sweeney pressed his claims for a first team start by grabbing a brace, Zak Boagey scored a wonder goal and Walker also got on the scoresheet.
It made for a very satisfying night for Collins: “They did have a young side out but from our point of view it was a really good performance,” he told SportMail.
“We played some good stuff and scored some great goals.
“It was tough for them but we can only go off what we have done.
“And to be honest even if they had brought on a few seniors we would still have won comfortably because of the way we were playing.
“It (the result) has came from the way the gaffer and Higgy want us to play.
“I chose a formation to suit the way our lads played and everything combined well.”
Rodney opened the scoring after just two minutes with a header before Sweeney and Rutherford got their first not long after.
The menacing Jordan Richards teed up Walker to score the fourth with a low strike and Rodney made sure Pools went into the break with a five-goal cushion after slotting home from a Rutherford pass.
Sweeney and Rutherford both scored again inside the box, 19-year-old Boagey then continued his record of scoring piledrivers with a 30-yarder.
Rutherford took the match ball later on after finishing off Ben Wignall’s centre.
The annihilation of the Millers served a reminder to boss Cooper of the strength of depth of his squad, and more notably the eagerness of the club’s youngsters.
Collins said: “The gaffer is not afraid of playing the youngsters, he’s already proven that.
“We’re drilling into them that if they play well in training and the reserves, they will get put into the first team.
“There’s a good environment to walk into, and everyone wants to play for the first team.
“But they have to be doing it day in, day out.
“It’s having a knock on effect too because the first teamers are having to play even better to keep their place because they’re being pushed so hard.”
Pools: Rafferty, Richards, Holden, Walker (Wignall 56), Collins (Nellis 56), Rowbotham, Hawkin, Sweeney (Green 56), Rodney, Rutherford, Boagey.
Subs not used: Nearney, Foden.